In North Carolina, more than 16,000 children need out-of-home care. One in five children face hunger on a regular basis. A child is abused or neglected every 24 minutes. One hundred and five children died from gunfire last year. The number of grandchildren being raised by grandparents is estimated at over 80,000 and
80% of those who come to Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) have no faith base.
These are not just numbers. They represent real children and real families who are dealing with real problems. At BCH, we are keenly
aware of the plight in North Carolina. However, we also know a different story, one in which you help make happen every day. It is a story of healing. It is a story of hope.
What does hope mean for the children in our care?
These are their own words:
Hope is...“feeling safe;” “having a friend;” “being cared for;” “being happy;” “family relationships getting better;” “learning to trust again;” “graduating from high school;” “having food for my brothers and sisters;” “Dad getting out of jail;” “being able to dream again;” “having no more placements and being adopted by foster parents;” “Mom being clean for five months;” “knowing God has me and I got God.”
Returning home from a speaking engagement, my car was full of children, laughing, singing, and having lots of fun. In time, the
car became quiet as several of children became tired and fell asleep. One of the younger boys had grabbed the front seat. While the others were sleeping, he became more talkative. He asked me to pray for the mother of a friend. He shared how she didn’t have much and needed help. I said I would pray. He then asked me if
I had parents. I shared with him that I had been blessed with
“You sure are lucky,” he said. There was such pain in the child’s eyes. He turned away from me as he wiped away tears. I wondered what had happened to have caused this extremely visible pain. As we continued our journey, I prayed God would use BCH to impact
this child’s journey. And He did.
When we are faithful and obedient to God, He takes our efforts and turns them into something amazing and wonderful—hope!
This story reminds me of this important message. A famous German artist named Herkomer was born in the Black Forest. The
son of a simple woodchopper. Herkomer was a gifted artist and when his reputation grew, he moved to London and built a studio there. He sent word to his aged father to come and live with him.
The old man enjoyed creating things out of clay. He made beautiful
bowls. The father and son worked side by side as artisans. The years
passed and the old man’s abilities deteriorated. He began to feel his work was inferior.
Herkomer was sensitive to his father. When his father was asleep for the night Herkomer would go downstairs and take in his hand the pieces of clay that his father had left and gently correct the defects. When his father would come down in the morning he would hold up the pieces to the light, smile and say, “I can still do it.”
That is what our Heavenly Father does with us. We try to do for him what we can. One of my favorite quotes is: “Kindness is Christianity
with its working clothes on.” We feed the hungry, visit the sick, teach Sunday School, go on mission trips, give to care for the need of others, and wipe away the tears of pain from a little boy’s eyes.
Like Martha in the New Testament, we are busy doing God’s work. And Like Martha, we are frail and flawed. We make mistakes. Our
life and work for the Lord is not as perfect as we would like for it to be. Like the old man in the story, we can become discouraged. The
statistics showing the plight of children and families can seem overwhelming, making us question whether we can really make a difference. In that moment, I am reminded it is not about me. We are but the instrument. God places his hand on our efforts and shapes them and uses them in wondrous and marvelous ways,
far greater than we could have ever imagined.
God has given us a job to do—care for the least of these. We must not be overwhelmed by statistics. These are not just numbers. Remember, they are real children and real families. Each of these numbers has a name. I hope you will see these numbers as: Janelle, Kevin, Ashely, Kourri, Amanda, Steven, Jackson, Erica,
Kimmy, Brittany, Jason, Jacob, and the hundreds of others needing hope.
Let us be faithful and obedient to God and then watch with amazement as he takes our efforts, brings hope, and brings transformation before our very eyes.
“Now to him who can do immeasurably more (exceedingly, abundantly above all) than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph 3:20).
Thank you in advance for your continued gifts of HOPE.
Written by Brenda Gray, Vice President of Development & Communications